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Marriage in Karamoja

03 JUL 2015, By Reedbuck, In Uncategorized, No Comments
  Marriage with Cattle
Marriage in Karamoja involves the exchange of cattle as a bride price payment from the man to the family and clan of the woman. These marriages are considered official and a couple is “married with cattle” when the bride price has been paid in full, although payments may be spread over many years. Being married with cattle brings specific benefits to the man, woman and children. For a man, the rituals of initiation and marriage bestow full recognition as an adult member of his clan and bestow the ability to participate in decision making within the manyatta and kraal. A man who has not married with cattle does not enjoy these benefits, and will hold a place of less importance within his age-class


Karamojong man and his wife . A woman who is married with cattle becomes an official member of the man’s clan, and only then is she considered a full and active member of the community. The rights and protections of the man’s clan are extended to a woman and her children following official marriage. This is particularly important if her husband dies, as a woman will have rights to her husband’s property—including his cattle—only if they were officially married. The man’s clan is also obligated to care for the woman upon her husband’s death, often in the form of remarriage within the clan (discussed below). Any children born to the couple after the bride price has been paid are automatically a part of the man’s clan.

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